Hello again! I’m finally arrived back in the States. After about 2 days of travel I finally arrived at JFK at 7 am. Then thru customs, a broken luggage carousel, 2 buses, a train and finally home. I’m pretty sure all I need now is a row boat and I’ll covered all forms of a travel in swoop!
It’s nice to be back, but my heart is always torn between 2 homes. It’s always a bit difficult to articulate how things “go” in while I’m over so I thought you might be able to read this story that Brittany, who’s one of our staff. I hope this helps a bit. It’s below.
As always please know how grateful I am to have all of you behind me supporting, giving, encouraging & praying. Thank you.
Here the story. Please have a read:
Her name is Sweetness. She is barely three years old and already her eyes reflect the harsh reality that is her life. Orphaned as an infant, Sweetness had been passed around from relative to relative before landing on the doorstep of a widowed uncle. Out of necessity, he is gone most of the day at work, leaving the three year old behind to fend for herself. Infected with AIDS, his death will follow swiftly on the heels of her parents and Sweetness will soon be orphaned for the second time.
When I first started work in Kabokweni, Sweetness was shy and would not approach me willingly. She is too solemn for one so small and often stares at her feet rather than respond when I try to talk to her. Sometimes I pick her up whether she acknowledges me or not and hold her close. She doesn’t fight, but lays passive in my arms and keeps her head down. I feel the hard, roundness of her stomach. She looks like a pregnant toddler, but I know that this is often caused by malnutrition.
Yesterday, I was playing a game with about fifty of the kids. They were being loud and acting more rambunctious than normal, but still for the most part good-natured. There was a lot of noise, that amazing crescendo unique to children and, while I was laughing and yelling along with the rest of them, organizing a game was fast becoming impossible. And in that moment of chaos, I felt tiny arms encircle my leg and a small body pressed itself close to me. This alone was not unusual, but as I glanced down and saw Sweetness, her cheek resting on my thigh her eyes raised to me, I felt near tears. She stayed glued to me the rest of the day and I let her cling all she wanted. Or maybe it was she who let me cling.